They may often be small words, but conjunctions are highly functional and very important for constructing sentences. Did you notice that just now the coordinating conjunctions but and and were used to link different parts of that first sentence?
This is the main job of conjunctions. They join words, phrases, and clauses together. Since they serve such an important role, it may not come as a surprise that there are three distinct types of conjunctions used in sentences: coordinating, subordinating and correlative. Let's take a look at each category.
Conjunctions are known as connective or linking words. They join thoughts, actions and ideas, as well as clauses and phrases. Each of the three different types of conjunctions joins different parts of a sentence together. Let's take a look at some of the most commonly used forms.
Coordinating conjunctions like "and," "nor," or "so" link equal parts of a sentence, be it words, phrases, or independent clauses. For example:
He was late for school, so he took a shortcut.
Her favorite colors were purple and red.
She doesn't like coffee, nor does she like tea.
Subordinating conjunctions such as "because", "since" and "after" link a dependent clause to an independent clause, helping to show the relationship between the two clauses and emphasize the main idea of the freestanding/independent clause. For example:
Because it was raining, we had to cancel the class picnic.
The house was a mess after the crazy party we had last night.
He doesn't go skiing any more, since he had the accident.
Correlative conjunctions work in pairs to join together words or phrases that have equal importance within a sentence, like "either/or", "such/that" and "not only/but also". For example:
You can have either chocolate or vanilla ice cream.
He not only plays the guitar but also the drums.
Such was his strength that he was easily able to move the fallen tree.
Download the Types of Conjunctions PDF so you have a full list of the most commonly used conjunctions at your fingertips.
Remember, the main job of a conjunction is to link together different parts of a sentence to help you connect or emphasize ideas or actions. Conjunctions help you form more complex and interesting sentences and make your writing flow more smoothly.